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51 Years Ago Today, JFK's 1st State of the Union Address

Fifty-one years ago today, newly inaugurated President Kennedy delivered his first State of the Union Address. He presented a grim overview of problems facing the country. Read full speech for his points addressing the issues.

“The American economy is in trouble. The most resourceful industrialized country on earth ranks among the last in the rate of economic growth.”

“It is true that, since 1958, the gap between the dollars we spend or invest abroad and the dollars returned to us has substantially widened.”

“The current Federal budget for fiscal 1961 is almost certain to show a net deficit.”

“But all these problems pale when placed beside those which confront us around the world. No man entering upon this office, regardless of his party, regardless of his previous service in Washington, could fail to be staggered upon learning–even in this brief 10 day period–the harsh enormity of the trials through which we must pass in the next four years.”

“Life in 1961 will not be easy. Wishing it, predicting it, even asking for it, will not make it so. There will be further setbacks before the tide is turned. But turn it we must. The hopes of all mankind rest upon us–not simply upon those of us in this chamber, but upon the peasant in Laos, the fisherman in Nigeria, the exile from Cuba, the spirit that moves every man and Nation who shares our hopes for freedom and the future. And in the final analysis, they rest most of all upon the pride and perseverance of our fellow citizens of the great Republic.”

FULL SPEEECH: 1961 State of the Union Address

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